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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I have seen the enemy, the enemy is not a homeless mother

Let's keep truth simple, a homeless mother should not go to jail for trying to get her child a better education in a public school system rooted in inequality.  

F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote: "Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me. They possess and enjoy early, and it does something to them, makes them soft where we are hard, and cynical where we are trustful, in a way that, unless you were born rich, it is very difficult to understand. They think, deep in their hearts, that they are better than we are because we had to discover the compensations and refuges of life for ourselves. Even when they enter deep into our world or sink below us, they still think that they are better than we are." 
Is this the America we want? An America where schools are places where the quality of a child's education depends on their zip code? Tanya McDowell is not a criminal she is a mother trying to beat a system that is rooted in inequality. The people are tired of education reforms based on competitions, lotteries, and zip codes. I have seen the enemy, and the enemy is not the homeless, but a system that goes after a homeless mother. 

I have seen the enemy,

Tanya McDowell is not the enemy,

Parents are not the enemy,

Children are not the enemy,

Teachers are not the enemy,

The enemy is education reform that reduces children to data,
The enemy is education reform that shames teachers,
The enemy is education reform that claims equity is a lottery,
The enemy is education reform that closes schools rather than supports them,
The enemy steals from the poor to give to the rich,
The enemy promises hope by making schools compete,
I walked against the enemy,
I marched against the enemy,
I will conduct Teach-Ins in Selma Alabama this coming Saturday at the Selma Jubilee, 
I am holding a Save Our Schools Town Hall meeting in Connecticut this March 31,
I will occupy the DOE in DC that house of the enemy on April 1 & 2,
The enemy is not homeless American mothers,
The enemy is the 1% who believe public education is a competition, not a system rooted in equality.
Still marching,

You can read Savy Sister's blog telling it through her tears in the link below:

If you are wondering what the walking man is listening to on his walk this morning it's I hear them all by Old Crow Medicine Show:

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Where is the Love, Y"all

Today I reject the distrust, 
Today I reject the haters of teachers, 
I reject the fear mongers of our schools are failing. 
Today I took a stand, today I did something, and so can you. 
I reject the notion that teachers are best measured by unreliable value added measures. 
I reject New York's release of teacher ranking based solely on student test scores!
Valerie Strauss's "Answer Sheet" gives the academic response here: she outlines the fallacy of  well. She embeds reference links to the studies challenging Valued Added Measures.

My thinking is accountability yes, but this is ethically and morally wrong. This is the new Scarlett Letter for teachers. First they reduced our children to data, to capital, and turned our children from God's gifts into test scores. Now they are doing the same exact thing to teachers. Shame is not education reform, and in the end does more harm than good. It will turn teachers away from working in poor urban and rural school districts. It will demoralize teachers, and hurt children, parents, and local schools. Maybe that has been the plan of NCLB/RTTT all along. A plan to destroy our public school system.

Shame on New York City's DOE.
Mrs. Stanfield my high school English teacher shared Pastor Niemoller's words with us when we were reading Elie Wiesel’s “Night”.
 Pasto Niemoller said:
"First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me."

Mrs Stanfield my only African American teacher in high school taught her students about Pastor Niemoller and Elie Wiesel not because it might be on some bubble sheet test, but because it mattered. It helped to shape the men and women we would become.  Thank you, thank you, thank you Mrs Stanfield for making a difference in my life.
So today I live her lesson, I resist, today I fight back, and I reject shame reform. 

Join me on Facebook by liking:

In the meantime let's all sing:
“Where is the love (The love)
Where is the love (The love)
Where is the love
The love, the love

It just ain't the same, always unchanged
New days are strange, is the world insane
If love and peace is so strong
Why are there pieces of love that don't belong
Nations droppin' bombs
Chemical gasses fillin' lungs of little ones
With ongoin' sufferin' as the youth die young
So ask yourself is the lovin' really gone
So I could ask myself really what is goin' wrong
In this world that we livin' in people keep on givin'
Makin' wrong decisions, only visions of them dividends
Not respectin' each other, deny thy brother
A war is goin' on but the reason's undercover
The truth is kept secret, it's swept under the rug
If you never know truth then you never know love
Where's the love, y'all, come on (I don't know)
Where's the truth, y'all, come on (I don't know)
Where's the love, y'all” (Black Eye Peas Where Is The Love)

Walking tall today listening to "Where Is The Love" 
Jesse The Walkingman Turner

Got Hereos

Looking for some heroes members? Look no further than these teachers from Trumbull Connecticut who said: Thanks, but no thanks.
That sums up the letter fired off last week by some Trumbull teachers who have decided being recognized by Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now, an education reform advocacy group that favors charter schools and changes to teacher tenure laws, isn't such a great thing.
Here is the link.
In November, Trumbull High School was recognized in three top 10 lists -- for best academic performance among low-income, Hispanic and African-American students -- published by the group, also known as ConnCAN. The New Haven-based group has released such lists for six years.
The recognition comes with a citation that is available for viewing on the school's website.
At first, staff members were proud to be recognized for doing their part to close the nation's worst achievement gap.
That all changed last week, said Nick Banks, a Trumbull High English teacher and union vice president, when he and others started looking into ConnCAN after the group threw its wholehearted support to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's education reform plan. That plan would increase funding for charter schools, in part by making local districts contribute financially toward their operation.
Malloy also wants to link student achievement to teacher evaluations and force teachers to re-earn tenure -- or the right to due process -- every five years. Banks said he heard ConnCAN's chief operating officer, Patrick Riccards, state repeatedly that for the reform plan to work, it had to be an all-or-nothing proposition.
That prompted Banks and eight or nine union representatives at Trumbull High to craft a letter to ConnCAN, which received approval from Tammy Baillargeon, president of the Trumbull Education Association.
Signed by TEA, the letter, in part, states: "We do not recognize or value your opinion of our performance and we view our inclusion in your 2010 State of Education Report as an opportunistic ploy to further promote your privatized agenda on the backs of hardworking public school teachers.
"Our inclusion in your list is not what inspires us to succeed with all of our students; it is our drive as highly trained, highly qualified educators to provide a rich public education for our students, free of the influence of corporate agendas," the letter continued.
Banks said he is not one to turn away a compliment but simply does not want an award "from these people."
Rather than an educational advocacy group, Banks said he considers ConnCAN to be a business out to "profit off of the public education system."
Riccards said Thursday the award is not the teachers' to return.
"We provided an award to Trumbull High School," he said. "It's unfortunate that the leadership of the local union doesn't want to be recognized for the fact that they are doing a good job."
Riccards said ConnCAN is a nonprofit advocacy organization that wants to ensure all students have access to great public schools.
"For too long, all we've done is talk about what's wrong in public education. This is one of the times we get to applaud those doing a great job," he said.
Never before, he said, has anyone tried to turn down the award.
Banks said Trumbull High principal Robert Tremaglio was surprised when teachers told him of their request to give the award back. Tremaglio could not be reached for comment. The teachers plan to meet Friday with Superintendent Ralph Iassogna.
In an email, Iassogna said the district is pleased with the growth in student performance and extremely proud of the hard work and efforts of the staff. He did not comment directly on the ConnCAN recognition.
Banks said the teachers also intend to go before the Trumbull Board of Education on Tuesday to read their letter to ConnCAN into the record

Every state has some Privatizing
Charter Group like ConnCAN.  They are are actually a lobbyist group they show up at every leglslative hearing pushing their let beat up on teachers and public schools leglislation. They claim to represent the parents, but everyone who shows up is emplyed by them. 
Read more:

What really makes these teachers heroes in my book is they are not only rejecting an award, but sending a very strong public message to Connecticut's Governor Malloy and his new Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor a message that taking over 20 million dollars from regular public schools to give charter schools makes no sense.  Connecticut is talking about rewriting tenure rules, new teacher regulations, and evaluating teachers based on valued added state mastery test scores. The talk is 45% of a teacher's evaluation will be based on testing.
Connecticut legislative hearings have been overflowing with testimony from parents, teachers, university faculty members, and community groups questioning the governor's new proposed school reform initiatives, and the state's application for an NCLB waiver.
You can even sign their petition against privatizing public schools as well. 

If you are wondering what the Walking Man is listening to on his walk today it   is Mariah Carey's Hero: 
Teachers are my heroes,

Thursday, February 23, 2012

We have met the enemy, and they are not the Girl Scouts

Who are the people elected to office? The very same people telling America that testing and privatization can save our schools. Let's all come to the realization that many of our lawmakers are not smarter than a fifth-grader.  Allow me to introduce an elected official, Indiana State Representative Bob Morris who clearly is not smarter than a fifth-grader.
This week Bob Morris Indiana State Representative refuse to sign resolution honoring the 100 Anniversary of the Gril Scouts of America. He sent the following letter to his colleagues urging them not to sign it as well.
Here is his letter: Verbatim text of letter from Indiana state Rep. Bob Morris, R-Fort Wayne, to fellow lawmakers.

February 18, 2012
Members of the Republic Caucus
Dear Fellow Representatives:
This past week I was asked to sign a House Resolution recognizing the 100th Anniversary of Girl Scouts of America. After talking to some well-informed constituents, I did a small amount of web-based research, and what I found is disturbing. The Girl Scouts of America and their worldwide partner, World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), have entered into a close strategic affiliation with Planned Parenthood. You will not find evidence of this on the GSA/WAGGGS website—in fact, the websites of these two organizations explicitly deny funding Planned Parenthood.
Nonetheless, abundant evidence proves that the agenda of Planned Parenthood includes sexualizing young girls through the Girl Scouts, which is quickly becoming a tactical arm of Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood instructional series and pamphlets are part of the core curriculum at GSA training seminars. Denver Auxiliary Bishop James D. Conley of Denver last year warned parents that "membership in the Girl Scouts could carry the danger of making their daughters more receptive to the pro-abortion agenda."
A Girl Scouts of America training program last year used the Planned Parenthood sex education pamphlet "Happy, Healthy, and Hot." The pamphlet instructs young girls not to think of sex as "just about vaginal or anal intercourse." "There is no right or wrong way to have sex. Just have fun, explore and be yourself!" it states. Although individual Girl Scout troops are not forced to follow this curriculum, many do. Liberal progressive troop-leaders will indoctrinate the girls in their troop according to the principles of Planned Parenthood, making Bishop Conley's warning true.
Many parents are abandoning the Girl Scouts because they promote homosexual lifestyles. In fact, the Girl Scouts education seminar girls are directed to study the example of role models. Of the fifty role models listed, only three have a briefly-mentioned religious background – all the rest are feminists, lesbians, or Communists. World Net Daily, in a May 2009 article, states that Girl Scout Troops are no longer allowed to pray or sing traditional Christmas Carols.
Boys who decide to claim a "transgender" or cross-dressing life-style are permitted to become a member of a Girl Scout troop, performing crafts with the girls and participate in overnight and camping activities – just like any real girl. The fact that the Honorary President of Girl Scouts of America is Michelle Obama, and the Obama's are radically pro-abortion and vigorously support the agenda of Planned Parenthood, should give each of us reason to pause before our individual or collective endorsement of the organization.
As members of the Indiana House of Representatives, we must be wise before we use the credibility and respect of the "Peoples' House" to extend legitimacy to a radicalized organization. The Girl Scouts of America stand in a strong tradition that reflects with fidelity the traditional values of our homes and our families. The tradition extends from coast-to-coast and back through the past one hundred years. That said, I challenge each of you to examine these matters more closely before you extend your name and your reputation to endorse a group that has been subverted in the name of liberal progressive politics and the destruction of traditional American family values.
I have two daughters who have been active in the Girl Scouts of Limberlost Council in Northeastern Indiana. Now that I am aware of the influence of Planned Parenthood within GSA and other surprisingly radical policies of GSA, my two daughters will instead become active in American Heritage Girls Little Flowers organization. In this traditional group they will learn about values and principles that will not confuse their conservative Hoosier upbringing.
I have been told that, as of today, I am the only member not supporting the Girl Scout Resolution.
I challenge each of you to examine these matters and to decide carefully whether or not to sign the resolution.
Bob Morris

Has anybody noticed he did not say anything about the Boy Scouts? Perhaps it is only the girls that are dangerous to Representative Morris? We can not afford to elect crazies like this to America's legislatures any longer.  
First let's all just agree that doing a little internet research does not reach the bar of any fifth-grader's research report assignment. I don't even know where to go with this nonsense. It is becoming scary, because electing people like this is placing our democracy at risk.
Children are more than test scores, and the Girls Scouts deserve better than shoddy internet research.
If you like to make a donation to the Girl Scouts of America, or find out how to buy some tasty radical cookies go:
Finally let's all show these crazies what democracy looks like this fall, and vote them out of office?
Ready to occupy the DOE in DC this March 30. 31, & April 1 & 2,
Jesse The Walking Man also votes!     

If case you are wondering what inspired the Walking Man on his walk this morning: MAKANA's We Are The Many You Are The Few: 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Secretary Status quo Duncan sprinkles his Fairy Dust in New York

Facebook post from a teacher responding to our voice of sanity and truth on education reform Anthony Cody's blog in ED Week " Sorry Mr. Press Secretary, Multiple Measures Are Not Fairy Dust

The teacher heeding Anthony's warning about the dust shared on Teachers' Letters To Obama this morning about the effects of the dust on New York teachers. 
"Well, as a teacher in NY who has sat through a day of "professional development" on data driven instruction, I can say that we were told (and the quotes are real - this was what we were told by the trainer from our BOCES center who travels regularly to Albany to get the 'latest news and information') "The TEST is where you start. When you look at the test and frame your instruction so that your students will do well on the TEST, then you will see increased scores and you will know that they have LEARNED what's on the test." 
It is exactly what we're being told - TEACH TO THE TEST"

Another clear example of the effects of the dust on mainstream media showed up in an editorial in the New York Times this morning "A sound deal on teacher evaluations"

It open with "Thanks to an agreement brokered by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, New York has moved a step closer to carrying out the statewide teacher evaluation system it promised two years ago in return for $700 million from the federal Race to the Top education program. Ending the impasse between the teachers’ unions and education officials will help improve instruction across the state."
Clearly the dust effect demonstrates the disconnection between dusters like Governor Cuomo, Secretary Duncan, and the New York Times, and what is actually happening in New York schools. The effect is simply amazing. The dust of course is making some dusters rich and powerful. It's that old story come around again. The Gospel tells us Judas took 30 silver pieces to betray Christ.  Governor Cuomo took 700 million from Race To The Top to betray New York's children, parents and teachers. While the New York Times may be inhaling Arne's dust parents, teachers, and students know better. In the world of Race To The Top fairy dusters don't teach in or attend our public schools. They live in that 1% world of you the 99% don't know what is good for you.  Just breath the dust in, and feel us getting rich off your misery. 
The NYTimes editorial ends with this eye opener: "To push districts to finalize their evaluation systems, Governor Cuomo has wisely included a provision in the agreement that would deny districts that do not comply a planned 4 percent increase in state education financing. That penalty, combined with the threat of losing federal money, should get the two sides to end the blockage."
Those fairy dust pixies of old did never threaten people. These new Giorgio Armani suit wearing RTTT fairies are always threatening parents, students, and teachers with fall in line, or else we'll take away your funding.  Just behave and smell the _ _ _ _
If you want to see what parents really think about Cuomo's dust read Class Size Matters posts on Facebook about this deal.

Spread the word we reject their 30 pieces of silver. They can keep their dust. The NCLB/RTTT resistant is alive and well. We are walking, marching, protesting, speaking and occupying your board meetings from sea to shinning sea. SOSers are blogging,  going to occupy Arne's U.S. DOE this March 30, 31, april 1 & 2. Save Our Schools is going to Selma Alabama for the Selma Jubilee.  Hot off the SOS Press we are organizing and inviting all NCLB/RTTT resisters to a SOS Education Convention in DC this summer. We promise no fairy dust will be used. Someone tell the DOE the Revolution won't seen on CNN or MTV, but it is coming to DC?   
If you want to know what the Walking Man listened to on his walk in the rain this morning.
That's right Sweet Honey Tn The Rock "Ain't gonna let nobody turn me around"
and Chris Streetman's "Will we occupy"
We will occupy,

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Poverty Matters Secretary Status quo Duncan

Dove Rosenberg a member of Children Are more Than Test Scores posted a comment today about Secretary Aren Duncan and poverty: " Good teaching cannot outweigh the detrimental effects that poverty has on a child. Arne Duncan says that education can be used to fight poverty, but that's nonsense. Poverty is far more effective at fighting education than the other way around."

Easy for for Status quo Secretary Duncan to say. Those who have never known poverty always think poverty doesn't matter. During Secretary Duncan's tenure as the Chicago Public School CEO over 100 children under the age of 18 were murdered in Chicago, and all he focused on was test scores. He missed the real crisis of violence in his city. The first time he noticed Chicago Parent's pain was last year two years after he left. When the beating death of Derrion Albert an honor student was murdered on his way home.

Poverty matters, School matters, A government that cares matters, and it will take everyone to help fight poverty.
May the Lord and his angels protect our children,
Still marching,

If you want to know what the Walkingman is listening walking in the rain through his tears:

Rest in peace Derrion Albert, and may the lord hold you close to his heart forever,
Jesse Turner The Walkingman